A bright yellow machine resembling a cross between a vacuum cleaner and a small scooter scrapes a narrow village road in Cyprus, working to solve a painful mystery from the divided island nation’s conflict-ridden past.

It uses radio waves to detect any disturbances in the layers of soil under the asphalt — potential evidence that could support eyewitness accounts of a mass grave containing remains of people who vanished nearly a half-century ago.

Cyprus’ Committee on Missing Persons is testing the pulseEkko — a deep ground penetrating radar — to help locate the remains of hundreds of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who disappeared in the clashes during the 1960s and the 1974 Turkish invasion.

Since then, the island has been divided along ethnic lines, with the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north separated from the Greek Cypriot south where the internationally recognized government is located.

The radar is working against time as many witnesses to the violent events are no longer living. It is also one of the few remaining slivers of hope for the relatives of the missing — like Sophia Stavrinou.

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